This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Quinn Priester.
Preister is ranked 4th on the Pirates prospect list according to mlb.com, right behind big names Nick Gonzales, Henry Davis, and Oneil Cruz. Priester is ranked 51st on the overall prospect list.
His pitch repertoire consists of a high 70s curveball, a low 80s changeup, and a mid-90s fastball.
Priester grew up in Illinois. As a senior in high school, he went 8-2 with a 1.00 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. Preister was named Illinois Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. Priester was committed to one of the top college baseball schools in the nation, TCU. However, he choose to go to the majors straight out of high school after being drafted with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Priester has played with the Pirates’ rookie ball, Low-A, and High-A teams. In High-A he was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game. In Priester’s minor league career he is 8-5 with a 3.08 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and a 7.6 K/9.
This year, Priester has been on the Pirates’ Double-A team the Altoona Curve, but he has been injured and is on the 7-Day IL.
The Pirates have high expectations for Priester and believe he will be a key part of their organization for years to come.
I talked to Priester about being a top prospect in the Pirates organization and his experiences in the minors thus far.
Here’s the interview:
Q: You grew up a Cubs fan. What was your first reaction to getting drafted by a division rival of your favorite team growing up? I am a huge Cubs fan, so I feel like it would be weird, at least at first. Talk to me about getting drafted to a team you would root against growing up.
A: I was more excited than anything to be in the same division. I’m really excited to represent the city of Pittsburgh, but being able to go “home” to Chicago a few times a year will be exciting.
Q: You’re a top prospect in the Pirates organization. Is there any difference in dynamic between top prospects in the organization and guys that are not top prospects?
A: The prospect status is other people’s opinions of you, not who you are. Luckily in my experience, the guys I have been around don’t really think about it. It really comes down to performing in games.
Q: Why did you decide to go to the majors straight out of high school rather the playing at one of the top college baseball colleges in the nation?
A: I thought it was the best decision to achieve my goals of becoming a major leaguer. I knew with where I was picked there was a large opportunity to do that and my family was confident with where I was at as a person to handle myself as a professional.
Q: As you slowly start to see other top picks make the majors, does that make you more eager to make the majors, frustrated that you are still in the minors? Is there any impatience that comes with that?
A: It’s super exciting to see guys I’ve played with make it up there and I’d say it’s encouraging. Those guys are phenomenal players and I see them competing at the highest level so it gives me the confidence to do it myself.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
A: My biggest challenge was realizing I belonged where I was. Early on I wasn’t the most confident and didn’t know how I would compete against the older players so trusting myself has been important.
Bonus Q: What’s the most memorable at-bat you have had as a pitcher?
Bonus A: Probably Adley Rutschman as my first hitter at the futures game. Was a little too excited for that one haha.
Bonus Q: What is your ideal at-bat?
Bonus A: One pitch one out, doesn’t really matter what else to me.
Thank you so much to Quinn Priester for these fantastic responses. I encourage all fans to support the minor leagues and try to attend games because the talent there is truly remarkable.